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How to Prepare a Semi-Truck for the Summer Season

mechanic repairing truck

Just like cars, semi-trucks must be prepared to face the hot summer months. Most semi-trucks travel thousands of miles, so it important that these trucks are prepared. They are also more complex with many components that must be calibrated according to the load that they carry and the conditions of travel. For both safety and comfort, it is imperative that a semi-truck be prepared for the summer season.

Summer Maintenance

Cooling is at the forefront of semi-truck summer maintenance. The air conditioning for the cab where the driver sits and the coolant for the engine both need to be serviced regularly. Doing so can ultimately save on fuel costs and future repairs by making sure that the cooling system is not working too hard.

Properly functioning air conditioning becomes a safety issue for the driver if the cab is overheated. Driving for hours during a heatwave in an overheated cab could lead to dehydration and sleepiness. Research shows that drowsy driving or driving while fatigued is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Sleepiness slows the driver’s reaction time and increases the risk of a truck accident.

What Should I Service in the Truck?

A truck’s coolant must be checked every three months, every 20,000 miles of driving, or every 500 hours the truck is being operated, whichever checkpoint is reached first. The coolant, or antifreeze, must be at the correct concentration levels to ensure consistent performance. It should not be cloudy, discolored, or contain particulates.

The radiator mounts, fan shrouds, and fan clutch, as well as all the parts of the cooling system should be checked for damage, corrosion, and debris. The radiator, charger, air cooler, and condenser can be pressure washed from the engine side to remove dirt and keep the system free of debris.

What Should I Check in the Air Conditioning System?

The most important part of the air conditioning system is the condenser. It must be flushed regularly to remove buildup and debris. All the hoses should be checked for leaks and cracks, particularly at the bends and flex points. Inspect all the hose fittings and connections to see that they are tight. Filters should also be inspected for debris, but before cleaning them, check with the manufacturer to make sure that cleaning them does not void the warranty.

Inspect the Engine Belts

Having a look inside the hood to check on the engine belts is easy. The regular vibrations of the truck combined with temperature fluctuations causes wear and tear on the belts, and over time they can become frayed or misaligned. Check the tension to see if the belts need tightening or replacement.

Why is Checking the Brakes Important in the Summer?

Even under normal conditions, brakes generate a tremendous amount of heat from the friction created to stop a vehicle. Over time, the high heat can damage brake parts. Extreme summer temperatures can lead to brake failure if the brake components cannot absorb any additional heat or the heat cannot escape.

Heat can cause the master-cylinder bores carrying the brake fluid to expand and leak out the seals. Leaking brake fluid results in reduced braking power. The brake lines should also be free of water infiltration as brake fluid contaminated with water will boil more easily in extremely hot weather and reduce braking power. Consider using a quality brake fluid designed for high-heat environments.

Does Heat Impact the Tires?

Hot weather can cause tire blowouts, making tire safety a vital part of preparing a semi-truck for summer driving. A truck has many tires, it is crucial to check them all for wear and tear. Hot weather and roads breaks down the rubber of the tire faster.

Inspect all tires for cracking or uneven wear and do a check of the tread depth. Uneven wear can be an indication that the alignment of the truck is off. While inspecting the tires, take the time to also clean debris from between dual tires, and check for loose lug nuts.

Each tire should have the correct pressure. Heat affects tire pressure, and the correct pressure ensures that the tire has even contact with the road. Good contact means good traction and braking and prolongs the life of the tires.

Battery Life

Many drivers check their batteries in preparation for cold weather, but heat can also take a toll on a battery’s charge. Excessive heat exposure can result in battery failure. Check that the semi-truck’s battery is connected properly and has a full charge.

Preparing the Cab for Summer

There are many things that can be done to make the cab as comfortable as possible for summer weather. Change out sheets and blankets to lighter summer fabrics and use comfortable clothing.

Sun exposure is a real concern for truck drivers who spend hours every day on the road. Sunscreen or long sleeve UV blocking shirts can protect the arms, and a hat and sunglasses are important to shield eyes from sun glare.

Stock the cab with lighter fare for summer. Healthy snacks provide long lasting energy for long hot drives and can help drivers stay fit and avoid chronic medical problems. Include comfortability in the list of preparations for the summer driving season. It is important that the semi-truck is complete ready before driving in order to prevent an accident.

Delaware Truck Accident Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Advocate for Injured Truck Accident Victims

Truck accidents often result in devastating injuries that can leave a person with huge medical bills and the inability to resume working. If you were injured by a negligent truck driver, you may be owed compensation for your injuries. Our experienced Delaware truck accident lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. help innocent accident victims and their families. For a free consultation, call us at 302-656-5445 or complete our online form. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.